Showing posts from March, 2021

Sharing in the Struggle

 I watched a Barnes and Noble interview with Barack Obama the other night about his newest book, The Promised Land. I'll confess, I didn't watch the entire thing, as I had screen/zoom fatigue by then, but what I saw of it was interesting.  What I found the most interesting wasn't necessarily the content of the book, but the commonalities we share as writers. He was frank and honest about his routines and methods. He mentioned he tends to do his best writing between 10 PM and 1 AM. This is actually the polar opposite of when I like to write. I tend to like writing first thing in the morning and into the afternoon.  He also mentioned that he writes all of his stuff using longhand on yellow legal pads. He said that is more productive for him and makes for a cleaner transcription. I thought that was particularly interesting given my efforts on my latest manuscript "At the Lake" (Working Title).  As I've mentioned, I am trying to write this one entirely in longhand

Influencers Before Influencers Were A Thing

So, in reflecting a bit on the writing of Cretin Boy, I got to thinking about what makes a teacher memorable. What are the characteristics that send some to the top of the list while others fall away? I have a few good friends who are teachers, well liked and undoubtedly well respected. Much of it stems from the demeanor of the teacher, the excitement or enthusiasm level for sure. In the book I mention an Algebra teacher I had that I was never very fond of. Some of it was my distaste for all things math, but much of it was this teacher's demeanor. He carried himself with a level of grumpiness that carried over into everything he did.  If someone were to question if it wasn't more related to my dislike for math, I would argue that why did I enjoy Geometry so much a year later as a sophomore? It was the teacher. Mr. Horyza was fair, funny and firm. If you struggled in any area, but came in for help, he kept track of that and gave you credit for it. It required going in before sch

This Is A Test

 Well, I had my first hearing test since 2016 today. Evidently when you're as deaf as I am you should be getting tested every year. This audiologist was surprised that I have not been tested in 5 years. I was all like "Well, you guys are the experts, I'm just the patient here." I still see hearing aids as a nicety that I can get along without, 80% of my day, so these things don't rattle me like they might rattle others.  So I step into the soundproof booth and get hooked up with all kinds of wires and buds. It was the old push the button when you hear a sound routine, something I remember from 5 years ago. Those of you who have heard my poem, "This is a Test", from my book,  Thoughts from a Line at the DMV   know that this same soundproof booth was the inspiration for the poem. As the test started I was pretty sure there were a number of sounds that were imperceptible by the human ear, because there were long periods where I heard nothing (except my tinn

Going Deeper at the Deep Valley Book Festival

With the pandemic still raging, us authors are still stuck with making our way as best we can. It used to be that if I released a book in November, the next 6 months would be filled with events and readings around Wisconsin and Minnesota. I miss those events more than I thought I would. I am energized by reading in front of a crowd, at least when it comes to my books. It will never be my favorite thing in the world, but as I've done it more and more, I've become much more comfortable doing it. After the readings, I enjoy talking to people about the book as I sign their copies and thank them for coming. It is exhausting but rewarding. The ambivert in me becomes all-extrovert during those two hours. In lieu of these in-person events and book festivals, I am left to do the next best thing. A good example of this is coming up this weekend in the Deep Valley Book Festival - Cabin Fever Edition . This is a virtual book festival that is based in Mankato, Minnesota. It is a free event,